Starting a New Job? Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Acceleration Lane

If you're getting ready to start a new job and expecting a nice, gradual ramp-up until you're at full speed, you're in for a rude awakening.

Whether you're a seasoned executive or the junior person on the totem pole, employers expect new employees to get acclimated and begin making contributions right away. Meaning you don't have a few months to hang around in the acceleration lane until you're ready to find an opening to merge.

You need to show up ready to get onto the freeway. Which can be a challenge.

The first 90 days on the job can be overwhelming. You're stepping into a new culture, learning a new role, adjusting to new schedules, getting acclimated to the company's political climate, and building a new network of relationships. On top of it all, you may have moved (or be in the process of relocating) to a new city - possibly with a family in tow.

That said, nobody's going to be very interested in sitting around and waiting until you feel like you're ready to contribute.

There is no honeymoon.

There is no "free pass."

Think of the first few months at your new job as an extension of the interview.

You created expectations when you were hired. Now you've got to get up to speed as quickly as possible, build on the positive impression you made during the interview process, lay the foundation for your next move - and start to make an impact.

The onus is on you to set goals, establish relationships, determine how to work effectively with your boss, and manage expectations. Don't assume someone else will take the initiative. Don't wait for someone else to make the first move.

While you can't control all the elements that will have an impact on your progression at your new company, you do have the power to manage how you're perceived in the first weeks and months on the job.

Establish credibility and present an attitude of cooperation at the outset; it'll pave the way for future success.